Pit and fissure sealants

Pit and fissure sealing is a procedure to prevent tooth decay. If your child is prone for tooth decay then you can ask your dentist to examine his/her teeth. The dentist will look for any deep grooves and depressions in teeth. These are natural but can act as a good hiding places for bacteria. This area is also difficult to clean. Thus it should be filled by pit and fissure sealant. These materials help in blocking these spaces and also release fluoride in them. Thus preventing further decay of the tooth.

What are sealants?

Sealants are a safe and painless way of protecting your teeth from decay. A sealant is a protective plastic coating, which is applied to the biting surfaces of the back teeth. The sealant forms a hard shield that keeps food and bacteria from getting into the tiny grooves in the teeth and causing decay.

Which teeth should be sealed?

Sealants are only applied to the back teeth - the molars and premolars. These are the teeth that have ‘pits' (small hollows) and ‘fissures' (grooves) on their biting surfaces. Your dental team will tell you which teeth should be sealed after they have examined them, and checked whether the fissures are deep enough for sealing to help. Some teeth naturally have deep grooves which will need to be sealed; others have shallow ones which will not need sealing.

How long do pit and fissure sealants last?

They can wear over time, and sometimes the dental team need to add or replace some sealant to be sure that no decay can start underneath it. Ask your dentist about fluoride releasing options.

How do pit and fissure sealants work?

The sealant forms a smooth, protective barrier by covering all the little grooves and dips in the surface of the tooth. Dental decay easily starts in these grooves if they are not sealed.

Do I still have to clean my teeth?

Yes. It is still very important to do this. The smooth, sealed surface is now much easier to keep clean and healthy with normal brushing. Using a fluoride toothpaste, last thing at night and at least one other time during the day, will help to protect your teeth. Pit and fissure sealing reduces tooth decay and the number of fillings you might need.

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